Dolev's article details two Windows Event Log-related vulnerabilities they had reported to Microsoft in May 2022: one ("LogCrusher") allowing a remote attacker to crash the Event Log service on any computer in a Windows domain, and the other ("OverLog") allowing for remotely filling up the disk on any domain computer by misusing a log backup function. Both vulnerabilities were targeting the Internet Explorer log that had permissions set such that any domain user could access it remotely.
Dolev's article states that OverLog was officially patched by Microsoft in October 2022 and assigned CVE-2022-37981, while the fate of LogCrusher remained unclear. Interestingly though, the title of Microsoft's advisory was "Windows Event Logging Service Denial of Service Vulnerability", which would match LogCrusher more than OverLog. In addition, it stated "the performance can be interrupted and/or reduced, but the attacker cannot fully deny service," which describes what happens with Event Log service when it crashes (see our EventLogCrasher post for details on that) and doesn't make much sense in the context of OverLog.
And what did the October 2022 patch do exactly? It simply changed the permissions on the Internet Explorer log such that non-administrative domain users could no longer access it. This may explain why, according to Dolev's article, Microsoft "closed “LogCrusher” [and] stated that they rated it as moderate severity because it required an administrator privilege [...] to exploit." Perhaps at that point, they had already decided to close the Internet Explorer log for non-admins, which would also protect the LogCrusher from non-admin exploitation.
That would make sense. But it wouldn't be exactly in line with Microsoft's documentation: the BackupEventLog capability, affected by OverLog, should only be available to users with SE_BACKUP_NAME privilege. Prior to the patch, all domain users had access (which is wrong), but after the patch, only Administrators have access (which is also not aligned with the documentation; non-admin users can be given SE_BACKUP_NAME privilege, too).
In any case, we were still interested in LogCrusher, so we did a quick analysis and learned the following:
- LogCrusher is very similar to EventLogCrasher in terms of exploitation: providing a NULL string to the remote Event Log service via RPC results in memory access violation which crashes the service. In addition, attacker's required access is the same in both cases: any domain user can remotely crash Event Log service on all domain computers. The impact of both vulnerabilities is therefore comparable.
- LogCrusher got patched with November 2022 Windows updates, one month after CVE-2022-37981. We "diffed" Windows updates and noticed a change to wevtsvc.dll that removed this vulnerability by adding a check for a NULL pointer as shown below. (Which is what our patch for EventLogCrasher does as well, and Microsoft's future patch for it surely will, too.)
- Microsoft assigned no CVE to LogCrusher in November 2022 updates, and extended no public acknowledgment to the reporting researcher for it. (See this list of all CVEs patched in November 2022 - nothing related to Event Log service.) We find it likely that Microsoft decided to cover both OverLog and LogCrusher with CVE-2022-37981, although these are two distinct vulnerabilities.
Let's look at Microsoft's November 2022 patch for LogCrusher in function PerformClearRequest (wevtsvc.dll): at some point in the code, the pointer to the "Backup file name" string, provided by the remote user, is loaded in register rcx. But the attacker was able to make this a NULL pointer, and before the patch, this pointer was blindly used in a subsequent mov r9, [rcx+8] instruction - which clearly caused an access violation if rcx was NULL. Microsoft's patch added a check for NULL and now puts a NULL into r9 if that happens. Function ClearChannelLogs, which then uses this value, is expecting the possibility of a NULL argument, so all is well.
While supported Windows versions got an official patch for LogCrusher in November 2022, several of our security-adopted versions haven't. We therefore made our own patch for these.
patch is logically identical to Microsoft's.
Micropatch AvailabilityMicropatches were written for:
- Windows 10 v2004 - fully updated
- Windows 10 v1909 - fully updated
- Windows 10 v1809 - fully updated
- Windows 10 v1803 - fully updated
- Windows 7 - no ESU, ESU1, ESU2
- Windows Server 2008 R2 - no ESU, ESU1, ESU2
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We'd like to thank Dolev Taler of Varonis for sharing vulnerability details, which allowed us to reproduce it and create a micropatch. We also encourage all security researchers who want to see their vulnerabilities patched to share them with us or alert us about their publications.